Garage Update: Outdoor Toy Organization

This has been one of those projects that seems to drag on FOREVER.  I was looking up old posts and we started finishing our walls back in August of 2012 when we installed our sports station!  That is almost two years now that we have had a stack of beadboard paneling waiting to be installed on our walls and trimmed out.  Well, one wall is finally done!  I guess waiting two years makes the celebration process that much sweeter.

You can catch up on our garage story and progress here.  Long story short, the entire space is getting brand-spankin' new storage so that it is simple to maintain.  We built in boatloads of overhead storage which I will share when I finish painting it up.  That will get a lot of the larger items up and off the floor and tucked away out of sight.  All we want left out on the walls is the items we use daily, such as lawn toys / games, sports equipment and bikes.

As soon as hubby finished caulking up the last hole in the beadboard, I couldn't wait to get to work on the newly empty corner of our garage.  The corner previously held our gardening supplies, but we actually put our garden shed to use, and that left this corner as the ideal location for outdoor toys.  In fact, it is right near the opening of the garage, making it super simple for the boy's and their pals to access everything they need for a day of outdoor play.

After we had ripped out our previous walk-in closet a few years ago, we saved a few pieces of the track shelving system (which I believe was purchased at Menards back in the day).  It was the perfect solution for this nook, as it is durable and the open shelves prevent too much dust build up.  I also love that they are adjustable to allow us to customize each shelf to our needs.

Installation is simple and only requires locating the studs in the wall using a level to make sure the top rail is installed correctly.  It went up in a jif!

You may recall that in the chaos of the garage, I had dumped their items onto the front porch.  Then we cleaned that up and moved them to the backyard until storage day.  

Before filling up the shelves with all of the boy's belongings, I took inventory of everything and gathered bins and baskets from around the garage and home.  I began sorting everything down by type, and made a list of the labels that I needed to create.

For any bin or basket with a flat surface, I cut word labels with my Silhouette die cutting machine.  For everything else, I painted up some unfinished wooden tags, and affixed the vinyl lettering to those.  In typical Jen fashion, I went a little label crazy. 

My entire thought process was sticking with what has worked well for us in the past.  I break the toys down by type and put everything into portable bins.  This allows the boys to grab a bin to take out to the yard and easily return the bins and contents to the shelf when they are done. 

For outdoor storage, I always select finishes which are weather friendly.  Galvanized steel, plastic and outdoor rattan were all used for this project.  That way if anything is left in the rain, no worries.  These finishes also make for easy dusting and cleaning.

The teal and green plastic totes were purchased at the dollar store and are lightweight and portable, which is perfect for quick trips to the park.

The green metal pails are my favorite.  They are from IKEA and remind me of the adorable versions from PB Kids. 

For all of the random sized balls that are used for impromptu neighborhood dodge ball matches and kickball games, I found an oversized wire basket from Target.

Bike gear remained in a bin we were using previously in another area of the garage.  It just received a sweet new label.

Squirt guns, life jackets and other water gear is in a portable plastic tote which is ideal for day trips to the beach.  Didn't those labels turn out darling?  Happy sigh....

There is a step stool nearby for the boys should they need anything higher, and for the items we didn't want little hands to reach, they we placed in bins on the top shelf.

Sometimes it is the quick and easy projects that really motivate us to continue on with the less fun items; like installing the rest of the beadboard and trim and finishing up the painting of the overhead cabinets.  But oh the difference the beadboard walls are making to the entire garage.  It is like ten windows were installed with how open, clean and bright it feels.  And we also have plans to update the lighting, build a new step and paint the doors.  One day at a time my friends, one day at a time...

I couldn't even finish getting everything in bins and on the shelves before half the neighborhood kiddos were down grabbing things and playing in the yard with the boys.  I love that leaving everything out and easy to access really promotes instant play.  A total summer saver for sure!

Sandbox toys are stored in our outdoor bench in the backyard, you can check that out here.

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